The real start of Ellen Claire Soapery began back when DeeDee Morris felt the call to nursing at the young age of 19. She started her career as an LPN, went back to school to become an RN, and then worked her way to an instructor. She was always fascinated by the skincare industry from a medical perspective, so she did some research one day to see if there were any natural products on the market to ease her and her daughter’s psoriasis. DeeDee found that bath soaks with dissolved bath bombs were a common remedy for people with the same affliction, so she decided to make her own bath bombs.
However, this proved to be no easy task. As she continued to research the specific ingredients, she realized that they weren’t at all beneficial for the skin but instead aggravated the psoriasis. What DeeDee discovered was that the best ingredients were actually the ones our ancestors used as cleaners like butters, oils, milks, salts, and clays. She knew that to create quality bath bombs, she’d have to get back to those basic fundamentals and stay away from the chemicals.
For example, she replaced SLSA, a mild chemical bubbling agent, with meringue powder (yes, same as the pie), which produces the same foaming effect without the harmful chemicals. After some trial and error, DeeDee had perfected her recipe and began making bath bombs as gifts for her family, friends, and coworkers. Everyone was beyond enthusiastic and supportive of the bath bombs, so she felt confident to begin selling them online and grew curious to see what other bath products she could develop on her own for Ellen Claire Soapery.
DeeDee then studied the art of old-fashioned soap making, and similarly to the bath bombs, she had to experiment with different ingredients and methods. Still, over time, she perfected her soap recipe as well. For the next decade, she continued her product line expansion, adding whipped soap, scrubs, bath milk sachet, lotions, hand-poured candles, a facial skincare line, a men’s line, a dog line, and SO much more! Because DeeDee has formulated her own recipes for every product, it’s easy to create and fulfill custom orders for individual customers or for special events like weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties.
By 2018, DeeDee was ready to retire from her illustrious 30-year-long career in nursing and move on to the next chapter in her life: a brick-and-mortar boutique in Bloomingdale. For her, it was bittersweet. Without her nursing background, she would never have started Ellen Claire Soapery. The timing could not have been better either: her husband owned an automotive business in Pooler and was looking to open a second location in Bloomingdale. Before the new location’s building was constructed, he updated the plans to include an attached boutique for Ellen Claire Soapery!
DeeDee was floored by this loving gesture and was thrilled to work alongside her husband and fellow “couple-preneur” every day! In fact, the business is a family affair. DeeDee’s daughter Katie is in nursing school, but she still maintains her Master Bath Bomb Maker status, and then there’s DeeDee’s niece Abby who oversees all things marketing and digital. Having her family involved is DeeDee’s favorite part of running Ellen Claire Soapery.
Many local businesses and stores carry Ellen Claire Soapery product lines or custom private-label products, DeeDee focuses on travel-sized products for downtown stores, that are easy for tourists to bring back home with them including candles and room sprays. She also uses scents that visitors from out of town would associate specifically with the area like Georgia Peach or Ocean Breeze.
DeeDee has no plans to cut back on product production anytime soon. Construction to increase the size of the Bloomingdale boutique is currently underway. Once completed, Ellen Claire Soapery will have a production area triple the size of the original one!
Also, keep an eye out for the Bubble Bus coming to an event near you! DeeDee and her hubby bought a used church bus and converted it into a mobile boutique. They plan to take the Bubble Bus to several different events all throughout the Southeast this year.
To learn more about Ellen Claire Soapery, follow them on Facebook or Instagram @ellenclairesoapery.
Blog by Katie Cupp for Locally Made Savannah